#Hot Corner


I just came across a copy of a short-lived publication called Baseball Monthly, from 1962. The most intriguing title in the table of contents is "I'm Through With Baseball Forever" ... by Jimmie Foxx. It's sort of a sad story, at least from Foxx's perspective. But that story's for another day. Here's the part that caught my eye ...

In 1944, Foxx had retired as a player and managed the Cubs' minor-league team in Portsmouth. His club got into the playoffs, but that winter learned that he wouldn't be asked back. With the rosters in the majors denuded by the draft, though, the Phillies brought Foxx back to the major leagues as a player. He played some first base, some third base, and even pitched a little (and throwing the occasional knuckleball).

Foxx pitched in nine games, started two of those, and won one of those. Foxx:

Ben Chapman was managing the club and he was short on pitchers so I offered to start a game. I told him I'd try to go five innings for him but to get somebody ready to come in to finish the game for me.

We were playing Cincinnati that day and at the end of the fifth inning I noticed no one was warming up. I went to Chapman and asked how come. He just gave me a funny look and said, "Don't you know what's going on?"

I knew all right. I hadn't allowed a hit in five innings. I told Chapman it wasn't going to go on much longer that way and he'd better get someone working in that bullpen. I had two men out in the seventh inning before they got a hit off me and as soon as the ball hit in the outfield, I walked off the diamond and went to the showers. It was 90 degrees that day and brother, I had had it! We won the game, 4-2 for my only victory as a pitcher.

I knew Foxx had pitched, and I knew he'd won a game. I had not known that he'd been working on a no-hitter in the seventh inning. And that's the sort of thing I like to know. So I figured I should check.

Foxx made his first pitching appearance on the 15th of July, and tossed 2⅔ scoreless innings despite walking four Reds. A week later, he shut out the Cubs over two frames. And then he didn't pitch again until nearly a month later, when he drew the start in the second game of a doubleheader against Cincinnati.

In some respects, Foxx's story checks out. He did win the game, and it would be his only victory as a pitcher. He did pitch 6⅔ innings, and the Phillies did ultimately win the game, 4-2.

The stuff about the no-hitter is off, though. I don't have the play-by-play for this game, and it's certainly possible that Foxx did have a no-hitter after five innings. Or that he still had a no-hitter after 6⅔ innings. But one thing we know for sure: Foxx didn't walk off the field after giving four hits (and two runs).

Another childish fantasy destroyed by facts.

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